Losing your teeth can be a very harrowing experience. Missing teeth can make you look much older than you are, cause tooth sensitivity, whistling sounds when you speak, and difficulty chewing. Yet, missing teeth are prevalent in America. 68.88 million adult Americans are estimated to be missing all their teeth, and by age 50, the average American has lost 12 adult teeth.
Losing your teeth will inevitably prompt you to look at tooth replacement options. Two standard options are dental implants and dental bridges. Use this as a guide to discover the pros and cons and help determine which route is best for you.
Dental bridges are a tooth replacement option that will replace multiple teeth at once. As the name suggests, a dental bridge will “bridge” the gap between your teeth to fill in missing ones. With traditional dental bridges, two crowns go over natural teeth on either side of the gap and hold the replacement teeth in place. Two dental crowns and up to three pontics (artificial replacement teeth) make up a bridge.
- Non-invasive/no surgery
- Lower cost compared to dental implants
- Only two appointments over a short period
- Don’t last as long as dental implants
- Can harm surrounding teeth
- It doesn’t guard against bone loss
- Harder to keep clean
A dental implant is a titanium post surgically placed into your jawbone. This post acts as a tooth root, and a crown (or artificial tooth) sits atop the dental implant. Dental implants can be used to replace one missing tooth or a whole arch of teeth and are considered the best tooth-replacement option on the market.
- Stimulates jaw bone to prevent bone loss
- Even bite force that doesn’t harm surrounding teeth
- As easy to take care of as your natural teeth
- Surgery is needed to place the implant
- More expensive than dental bridges
- Post-surgery recovery time
Should I Choose Dental Implants or Dental Bridges?
When weighing the pros and cons of dental implants vs. dental bridges, there are a few that hold more weight than others; how long they last and the impacts on your oral health.
Dental bridges can last about 5-7 years as long as you practice good hygiene, whereas dental implants can last 50 years or longer. For all intents and purposes, your dental implant will act exactly like your natural tooth’s root. However, there is a caveat to this. The crown placed atop the dental implant will last 10-15 years before needing to be replaced. Of course, how well you take care of your teeth plays a significant role in how long your implant and crown will last. If you fail to practice good oral hygiene, your replacement teeth won’t last as long, but good oral hygiene can extend their life.
The impacts on your oral health hold a lot of water when choosing how to replace missing teeth. With dental bridges, you’ll have a higher chance of gum disease due to difficulty keeping it clean. If your dental bridge is removable, you’ll have to take it out morning and night to clean it thoroughly. If it’s not, you’ll have to brush your teeth, use mouth wash, and typically a waterpick to ensure that no bacteria is sitting under the pontics. Though these are things you should be doing anyway to keep your oral bacteria in check, it’s more critical with a dental bridge. With dental implants, keeping them clean is as easy as taking care of your natural teeth.
Your dental bridge won’t stimulate your jawbone, and it will place the bite force from chewing unevenly on your teeth. When you don’t have a natural tooth root or artificial tooth root to stimulate your jawbone, you’ll experience jawbone loss which can cause your to look older than you are. Since dental bridges anchor to your other teeth through crowns, the teeth that hold the bridge in place take the bite force of chewing. Our teeth are strong but meant to work as a whole. When one or a few teeth take on more bite force, they can crack, chip, and break. Eventually, you may lose those teeth too.
Other Tooth Replacement Options
There are other options to replace your missing teeth as well, such as implant-supported bridges and dentures. Implant-supported bridges are like traditional non-removable bridges, except the crowns sit atop two dental implants instead of two healthy teeth. For this to work, you’d have to be missing at least three teeth. It’s a great option for those who wish to stimulate their jawbone with implants but want to get as few implants as necessary.
Dentures can be an option if you aren’t a candidate for dental implants or dental bridges. Talk to your Burkburnett restorative dentist about your candidacy for dental implants and dental bridges.
Replace Missing Teeth in Burkburnett, TX
Are you looking to replace your missing teeth in Burkburnett and the surrounding areas? Dr. Kyle Clark is your man. As a restorative dentist, he is an expert in replacing missing teeth and can help decide the best option for you. Give Dr. Clark and his team at Burkburnett Family Dental a call at (940) 569-4901 or make an appointment online. Dr. Clark is passionate about helping people of all ages feel comfortable and confident in their smiles and is ready to help you.